I prepped a big pot of goulash last evening, and left it in the oven on very low to cook overnight. This plan is fine, except you wake up tormented by ghoulash dreams, due to the smell wafting up the stairs.
When I fetched it out of the oven, I had put not enough salt in it, and had completely failed to add the roasted peppers [sigh]. So there I was, in my dressing gown at 8 a.m., slicing the contents of a jar of peppers *before I’d had a cup of tea*.
Pete bet me they wouldn’t go in, as the casserole dish was so full, but they did, and hopefully the residual heat from the cast iron and the goulash will do the first bit of melding of meat and pepper. But getting it out of the now brimming Le Creuset and into tubs for the freezer will be challenging …
Pastry and I … we don’t get on. At all. I can barely manage with bought pastry, and if I try to make it myself it’s a disaster.
I’ve tried everything – food processor, mixer, by hand. It all goes grey and shrinks, and is as unappetising as you might imagine.
I’ve been hunting for one of these for a while, and found it at Lakeland [warning: do not go here unless you are of strong will-].
I used it once, and I don’t think it’ll work. I’ve just fetched it out to make some rock buns, and the handle had worked a tiny bit loose, and I didn’t feel comfortable with it. Pete has tightened its nuts (as it were) with his Leatherman mole grips and we’ll see how it goes.
And the rock cakes have just come out of the oven. They *smell* nice, anyway.
 they taste nice too, but they’re not rock buns as I remember them.
Is it me, or is it my oven? [sigh]
Bought some nice fresh basil at the weekend. This week is busy, busy, busy with deadlines, and we’re both tired. So we decided to have a simple supper last night – pasta with mozarella, olive oil, and the aforementioned basil.
The discussion was had about what sort of pasta – we plumped for standard spaghetti from the Yellow Packet. We boiled the kettle. We put the water in the pan, brought it back to the boil, added the spag.
We got the basil and the moz^H^H^H – hang on … where’s the mozarella? Much rummaging ensued. Disaster – no mozarella. Meanwhile, the pasta bubbled on.
In great haste, we chopped an onion and sauted it in some olive oil, and chopped up some stilton. Stirred it into the pasta when cooked. Very nice.
But not what we wanted.
Well, I tried it again. I used the right size tins, I checked that the oven was the right temperature with a thermometer, I even softened the butter Just In Case.
And still, my cake was more like a biscuit. An uncooked biscuit at that.
My sponge making days are over. Gloom.
But for some reason, in the past week or so I’ve been making some cakey things. I started with carrot and cinnamon muffins (delicious), then did some espresso flavoured cup cakes (also delicious).
Then, fired up with confidence, I decided to make a sponge. A SPONGE. How hard can it be?, I asked myself. I found a recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. I rummaged in the back of the saucepan cupboard and found a brace of 6″ sponge tins. I rummaged in the bottom drawer in the kitchen and found the pre-cut cake tin liners (cut them myself? Are you mad?).
Then, in accordance with the recipe, I preheated the oven to Gas 4, tipped all the ingredients in the Magimix, bar the milk, whizzed them all up, and then added the milk. I did think the ingredients looked a bit – well – odd, but I got Pete to check them. Then I poured the mixture into the sponge tins, set the timer for 25 minutes and went off to watch Doctor Who.
And never heard the timer … so they had 35 minutes instead of 25. But they weren’t burned, and hey had risen quite enthusiastically, and the skewer was clean, so I left them in their tins for a bit to cool as instructed, then turned them out. Then, a bit later, I spread one of them liberally with rhubarb and ginger jam, sandwiched them together, and triumphantly cut us a slice each.
And it wasn’t cooked through. On re-reading the recipe, Nigella uses *8″* tins, not 6″ ones. Stupid woman.
Being tired and hungry, we thought we’d have some porridge this morning, so I found the box with the oats in, and bunged the requisite amounts of them, the milk and the water into a bowl, and placed it in the microwave.
And only then noticed that the bag said “best before April 03”. How bad could it be, I thought? When they were cooked, they didn’t smell very appetising, to be honest; so Pete had a rummage in the cupboard where we keep such things, and emerged triumphantly waving another bag of porridge oats.
“Best before 2000”, it said.
So we’re still hungry.
Some years ago, we had a lovely wooden spoon – it had a thin head and a long handle, and when I wanted that spoon, it was exactly the right spoon. One day the handle split; Pete mended it with sticky stuff, but it was never the same, and it broke again – with great sadness, we consigned it to the place where wooden spoons go to die.
I was stirring the soup this morning, and was yet again reminded of how much I miss that particular wooden spoon. I have 8 or 9 wooden spoons – some of them have long handles; some of them have thin heads. None of them has both.
Whenever we see a new kitchen shop, we rush in and rummage through their wooden spoons – thus far, we remain disappointed.
It’s all so sad.
note: the spoon in the illustration is nothing like the lost spoon.
Originally posted in my LiveJournal 19 dec 2005
So … I weighed out the ground almonds, the whole nuts (whizzed briefly in the food processor), the mixed tropical fruit, the sultanas, the blueberries and cranberries, the dried apricots. I rummaged in the back of the cupboard for Cointreau and Amaretto.
I beat 225g of butter with 225g of caster sugar and 1 tsp of Madagascan vanilla essence.
I added one egg.
Then I added another egg … and *as I cracked it* I realised it was bad, but it was too late – it was on its way into the Kitchenaid. Pete heroically dealt with the revolting sugary sulphury mess, while I washed everything up.
Then I found more butter, more sugar, more vanilla essence and started again. This time I did what I usually do – but inexplicably didn’t the time before – and broke the eggs into an intermediate container, but of course they were all fine.
The cake? Well, I’m not very happy with it to be honest. I think I might go and [whisper] buy one from Waitrose …